Unbelievable, a peer review failure

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By The Staff

Back in the ”old corps,” getting a paper communicated and published in PNAS (Proceedings of the National Academy of Science) was a cause for celebration up and down the hall and an “Attaboy” from Harold.  

We regarded these as cherished publications, justifying the “all-nighters” required to collect data from a system that had no concept of the eight-hour day or the five-day week.

More recently, we read that in the field of Climate Science, leading investigators gained editorial control of the peer review process introducing bias into publication by selectively accepting manuscripts supporting the notion of CAGW (Catastrophic Anthropogenic Global Warming) and rejecting papers holding any contrary view. We were reassured (Chick Keller, Monitor op/ed, Feb. 14, 2010) that all papers get published but we continue to find that the bias persists and that the practice of co-opting and then hiding behind the peer review process is widespread.

Now, PNAS (June 21, 2010) has published a survey paper by Andregg, Prall, Harold and Schneider, titled “Expert Credibility in Climate  Change” that states: (i) 97–98 percent of the climate researchers most actively publishing in the field support the tenets of ACC (Anthropogenic Climate Change) outlined by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and (ii) the relative climate expertise and scientific prominence of the researchers unconvinced of ACC are substantially below that of the convinced researchers.

What else could they expect when the peer review process is certifiably rigged?

The 97-98 percent may be a metric for the success of the rigging. Furthermore, the methodology identifies a “fecal roster” of credentialed individuals who disagree.

When did the National Academy decide that research supporting or denying the claim of CAGW was a ”beauty contest?” It is clear from other statements that the Academy supports the CO2 heating viewpoint, but the idea of using expert credibility — my daddy can lick your daddy — as an argument defending that position is an embarrassment to the entire scientific community.  

The authors and the Academy leadership should be looking for a hole to crawl in.

Compelling evidence (that passes the smell test, rather than peer review) for CAGW is critical because the consequence of the prescribed remedy, severe restriction of CO2 emissions, is economically devastating, ineffective unless practiced worldwide and very likely worse than the actual warming.  

With the political muscle to succeed, the legislative Cap-and-Trade decisions (Waxman-Markey and Kerry-Lieberman) are imminent with no hint of uncertainty or hesitancy on the part of the sponsors and yet the actions proposed are not supported by hard science that rules out other more benign natural causes for the observed limited warming during the past 30 years and the cooling of the past decade.

We deserve better.   

Don Petersen is with the Los Alamos Education Group.